The Jackson County wrestling team took a big step towards getting prepared for the Region 8-AAAAA Duals last Friday (Dec. 31) at Oglethorpe County.

Jackson County hosts the Region 8-AAAAA Duals this Friday (Jan. 7).

The Panthers won three duals at Oglethorpe, two in blowout fashion. Jackson County started the tournament with a close 33-27 victory over Swainsboro before squashing Jeff Davis 54-15 and Athens Christian 72-12. The only team to defeat the Panthers was Oglethorpe County. The Panthers lost to the Patriots 52-15.

Cooper Hoffman and Jose Pacheco went undefeated on Friday, while a few others went 3-1. The performance at Oglethorpe County has head coach Jason Powers feeling good about his lineup going into the region duals at home this Friday (Jan. 7).

“Our lineup is starting to come together very nicely,” Powers said. “This should be the lineup we stick on the mat Friday for region duals, this lineup should be really tough. We have to get a couple of kids into weight and make sure everybody is healthy. Other than that, it should be a very tough lineup.”

Powers expects to enter the region duals as either a No. 2 or No. 3 seed which doesn’t bother him. The Panthers won the Region 8-AAAAA Championship last year as a No. 3 seed.

“Kind of like in other sports, wrestling is really balanced,” he said. “I feel like us, Walnut Grove and Greenbrier all are really tight competition. Loganville, Eastside and Johnson, those schools are not bad at all. Depending on what team shows up, they can be right there in the mix as well. So, we have to go out and battle.”

“We just have to go battle and do our job. Each kid has to do their job individually whether that’s to win by fall or not get pinned and only lose by decision.”

While the competition at Oglethorpe County certainly helped the Panthers prepare for the region duals, Powers is adamant that what the team does Monday-to-Thursday is just as important as how the team performs in the big events.

“It’s the process we’ve been talking through all year,” he said. “It’s about believing in the process and coming to practice every day to get better. It’s a day-by-day thing, it’s not a competition-by-competition thing. It’s literally a minute-by-minute, day-by-day. As you step on the mat at practice, you have to be there that day not just put a check in the box and say that I was present. But you have to work hard and be willing to push your partner to work hard and accept the fact that your partner is going to push you just as hard.

“Be willing to be uncomfortable, that’s been our mantra this year. If we’re comfortable all the time then we’re not getting better.”


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